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Entering the job market

By timgraves1 ·
I would like some advice as to how to go about entering the IT management field. I have been in the Navy for the past 8 years in a non-non IT role. I have been working in Aviation Electronics, and I currently teach new acession sailors about Avionics systems.

In October I will be receiving a BS in MIS while still on active duty. I will be leaving the service, to the disappointment of my superiors, in March of next year. I will be relocating to the Chicago area from Virginia the same time.

I really want a shot in the business, but I have some anxiety over the fact that I will be a 31 year old recent college grad, with 3 children who need to eat. I have a Master Training Specialist designation, which is basically the Navy's version of CTT. I haven't earned any certs, because I haven't had the experience and don't want to be looked at like a paper tiger.

Could anyone offer any advice on my transition?

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You'll have more problems with the transition

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Entering the job market

to civvy street, than you will with managing a bunch of people. You don't make non-com in the armed forces without knowing how to lead and direct a team to do a task.

Any situation they ask about just morph it into your current environment and answer.

You can't put them on three O'clock guard duty if the annoy you but you do know the difference between creating problems and solutions.

Don't let anyone tell you your experience is irrelevant and you are starting from scratch.

I'm in the UK, so I can't help with local knowledge, are there defense contractors near where you are going, I would have thought they'd at least give you a shot at it.

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by timgraves1 In reply to You'll have more problems ...

Well, That's what I've been hearing. I have had a lot of calls from recruiters looking for me to do the job I am doing now. I laughed at what you said about 3 o'clock gaurd duty, I have been trying out different techniques now to learn how to civvy it up, ,lol.

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Other techniques required

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Thanks

Cleaning the barracks, close order drill, demonstrating your command of invective...

Well the last one can still work on occasion..

I used to enjoy drill, well once I'd figured out which foot was which and let my arms know.

It would actually be a good team building technique.
You might want to suggest that later though.

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That's Funny

by timgraves1 In reply to Other techniques required

Thank's. I appreciate your comments. I was hoping for more of a response. I just read another post by the guy who is making $12 an hour and, no offence to him he's 23, I'm very nervous about that. I really need to know what I need to do in order to maximize my earnings and make myself competetive in today's job market. If anyone can help I would appreciate it.

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A few things

by Tig2 In reply to Entering the job market

I think that the first thing I would do is check with the Family Service Center on base and find out if they still offer a transition class to folks going back to civilian life. If they do, TAKE IT. There is a component that addresses job hunting.

Start vetting professional recruiters in the civilian world that have a local office in Chicago. Pick a few that you want to work with. Start with Dice and Monster to find the better nationals and the yellow pages to find local or Midwest only.

Figure out what you want to do. You seem a natural for training but I know that your experience would be applicable for project management. What do you see yourself doing? What will keep you happy and motivated? The things that have kept you motivated will no longer apply to an extent.

Your experience would suggest industries like airlines, but would also suggest travel, corporate training, electronics and such. Is there an industry that you would like to focus on?

Finally, you don't present to the market as a 31 year old recent grad. You are a professional with 8 years of increasing responsibility who also has a degree. I am guessing PO1 here- are you willing to consider OCS? If not, know that you are eligible to step up to a commissioned status with the BS in hand. That said, I know how difficult the Navy is with a family and understand why you would want to get out. But recognize that you bring your full professional experience to the civilian market and it will be valued as such.

You will find that you are not coming to the market with "no/little experience". You are coming to the market with a richer experience than someone without military service.

I wish you the very best of luck in your transition. You will be fine.

P.S. Ex Navy wife, here. I understand.

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by timgraves1 In reply to A few things

I have taken the TAP class at Fleet and Family. I made PO1 in 5 and 1/2. I want to throw the dice in "the real world" OCS is always a back up, but as a last resort. Thank's so much. for your words of encouragement.

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Good luck, here are my thoughts...

by mdhealy In reply to Entering the job market

I'm purely a civilian but I know some people who were in the military. I recommend you spend a while browsing at whichever is your largest local bookstore -- there are books with titles like "Does your resume wear combat boots" that you may find helpful.

I gather from friends who have made this transition the biggest issues are not technical skills, they are cultural.

One friend told me a story that illustrates this well. One Friday morning his commanding officer spent a couple hours chewing him out over the biggest mistake of his entire military career. Well, about 4:30PM my friend's CO calls him over from across a field and my friend thinks "Oh no, more about THAT!" As he approaches his CO, the CO sees his expression and says, "Don't worry, as far as I'm concerned THAT is over, we both know you'll never make that mistake again, I just wanted to say a few of us are going out for dinner this evening and would you like to join us." By contrast, my friend says, in our company people are superficially much more polite than in the military, but tend to have the memories of elephants! He would actually prefer being called on the carpet ONCE per mistake and getting thoroughly reamed over the more subtle and long-lasting approach of the corporate world.

Power relationships always exist, in the military I gather they are official and explicit whereas in the business world they are frequently more subtle. We do have titles and reporting relationships, but a person's actual influence will often be much greater or much less than one might guess based on the title alone. I am not especially good at company politics, and one major source of my difficulties is because I am not very good at figuring out who is most likely to get heard by those farther up the food chain!

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by timgraves1 In reply to Good luck, here are my th ...

You would actually be suprised. I personally find it counterproductive to hold a grudge, and passive agressivenes is just wasted energy. I have worked for both types of people in my brief career.

The paralels to the civilian world are increasing everyday. It is the same way in my workplace, there are people of higher rank who hold little influence and people in lower rank who hold great influence. I figured out early in my career to attach myself to those with influence and learn everything I could about what they knew, their job,etc. In the military odds are that person has been there a couple years to have achieved the position or gain the respect needed in order to be influential. They will be leaving soon and the next "go to guy" will be needed and that is where I had placed myself. I made my self valuable by learning everything the person knew and applying it, while alos working hard and meeting or beating expectations of my superiors, so I was always the logical choice.

I figured out who they were by watching the way that people reacted to them, whether they followed the orders without grumbling, or took the orders and issued them as thier own rather that "Chief said we had to ...."

I guess it will be a new game in the civilian world. I hope I can continue to be good at it.

Thanks for the insight I appreciate it.

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IT Job Market in Chicago

by cwilliams In reply to Entering the job market

You can get a feel for the IT job market in Chicago at:

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Start as a consultant/contractor

by NotSoChiGuy In reply to Entering the job market


A lot of jobs here in the Chicago area are doled out to recruitment firms or just out-and-out handed over to consultants. Some of the big players in Chicago are:
Robert Half

A small outfit that has gotten good press in the 'burbs is ARS Technology.

You can find them all online.

From what I've heard (I actually have a good friend that was once in an almost identical situation as yours), some of the contracting firms are more willing to work with you and allow you time to cut your teeth on progressively challenging engagements (as long as they get $$$ and hear no complaints, that is).

Also, if you have time, check out some of the local papers (Suntimes, Tribune, Beacon, Reader, etc)...some smaller places post there exclusively. As a matter of fact, I came across this one earlier:

At any rate, I wish you and yours the best of luck, and hope you enjoy living in the area!

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